France, Part II

So….The Intermission lasted a little longer than expected. I had intended to finish up the second half of my France post but the jet lag threw me. It took me a few days to recover. 

Where was I…?

We were sad to leave Gavarnie, but after my brother convinced me that the hotel reminded him of The Shining I felt better about leaving.

Then we took our traveling circus to the Atlantic coast. First stop...

St. Jean de Luz

a charming fishing port on the Basque coast, near Biarritz.

Les. Pois. Sons, Les Poissons!

After endless amounts of windy mountain roads it was SO nice to see the horizon... against crystal blue water.

Being a fishing village, the markets were full of interesting creatures... 

The streets were very crowded during the day although this picture proves just the opposite.?

It's weird- I came back from France and ended up with pictures of abandoned streets and shrimp. Oh wait, here's one that proves we were around people:

A local festival activity.

Dad even did a little jig in the streets.

We stayed at the the most charming hotel- Hotel Deveniere- it was more like a local bed and breakfast.

Our courtyard out back...

That my mom liked to draw while we sat down there and sipped on wine...

And just so you know this is what my mom's sketchbook/journal looks like. Her way of describing what we ate… Martha S. would be proud, right?. 

Le Deveniere is full of antique furniture and authentic English flair. 

I loved their hardware:

This was our room-

To the left you will notice a uni-pillow. Hoyt and I like to flip our pillows alot in the middle of the night so this quickly became a problem.  We had to coordinate the pillow turns like they were football drills. If you had a tape recorder you would have heard sporadic yelling throughout the night: "… FLIP!!!!…. FLIP!!!!"

Definitely a first time for everything.

Other than the pillows, we loved our room. 

I didn't take great pictures but the rest of the place has such character. Felt like you were visiting a relative… right at home. 

This was definitely the most relaxing part of the trip, which we needed. After a few nights of pillow flipping and dancing in the streets we packed our bags and left the beach...

We hopped on a train and headed North. 

Next thing I knew we were in Paris.!!!

I have never been to Paris and immediately fell in love with the city. 

And that's not easy for me. It usually takes me a while to love big cities.

But Paris has an energy to it that sucked me in- it's elegant and edgy at the same time. 

We stayed in the heart of St. Germain- (at Hotel Millesime)- and I honestly could live in that area in a heartbeat. Such diversity. So much ART!! 

We didn't have much time there so we tried to visit as much as we could. This is also the reason I (regrettably) don't have as many pictures as I would like. OK- and I admit- I wanted to fit in and it's not very Parisian chic to wear a chunky camera around your neck.

Museum D'Orsay… a must see. Period.

The paintings gave me chill bumps. 

Notre Dame… So cool.

 We hit up Shakespeare and Co.- a little bookstore that's definitely worth a visit. During the 20s and 30s this place was a place of refuge for struggling writers like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and others; owned by George Whitman. This charming bookstore is definitely worth seeing (across the Seine from the Notre Dame)

Not really sure what's going on with the father/son in the foreground. Hmmm… 

Pretty sure what's going on with father/daughter here.  Father sharing an important history lesson. Daughter nodding along but really paying attention to the wood paneling details behind him. 

St. Chapelle (which many of you recommended!!) was, ofcourse, stunning. 

Why don't we make buildings like this anymore?

Inside the Chapel on the second floor were the most beautiful, intricate windows I've ever seen. 

But I kept finding myself staring at the vibrant patterns on the ceilings and floors, envisioning what textiles I could make out of it.  Go figure...

Then, of course,  

shopping….

I just had to stop in the fabric showrooms like Nobilis, Pierre Frey, etc. 

I celebrated my 27th birthday here- and toasted with an amazing mojito while overlooking the Louvre. (I think it should be a ritual, don't you?)

I read in SKY magazine (I was desperate) an article about Paris. I thought this quote summed it up beautifully:

In Paris "happiness consists of something intangible and fleeting. That success can't be measured. That your experiences matter above all else…. At the very least, Paris gives charm to life's daily grind. At it's extreme, the city changes you."

(thanks mom and dad)